Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

I've had Epilepsy for many years, and find the story of Jesus and the boy with Epilepsy very interesting. I've found that many Christians with the disease are pondering this same question:

  • Is Jesus telling the Epileptic boy, whether he be possessed or not, that he can be healed by prayer and fasting?

There are many new, natural doctors out there that claim fasting and detoxifying, which includes stopping medications too, can help and potentially cure Epilepsy.

This creates quite a conflict when all the suffers are assured by their medical doctors that eating and taking medicine is essential for health.

  • Is there any evidence that suggests fasting and prayer is a proscription for the Epileptic to heal?

Please remember, while this question might seem insignificant, it is very important to those like myself who have suffered for years.


  { Is there any proof that fasting and prayer is a proscription to the Epileptic boy being healed? }

Mike replied:

Dear Anonymous,

I'll make a few comments on your first question. Let's take a look at the passage you are referring to:

The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, "What are you discussing with them?" 17 And one of the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; 18 and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." 19 And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me." 20 And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us." 23 And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."

Mark 9:14-29

You said:

  • Is Jesus telling the Epileptic boy, whether he be possessed or not, that he can be healed by prayer and fasting?

No, the Epileptic boy cannot conscientiously understand his or her surroundings. He's telling his disciplines that, in this particular case, the demonic can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
It should also be noted that in Matthew 17, which may be the same story told by two different writers, Jesus states the disciples could not cast out the demons because of their lack of faith — this has nothing to do with the boy, but the faith of the disciplines and more admirably the faith of the father!

You said:

  • Is there any evidence that suggests fasting and prayer is a proscription for the Epileptic to heal?

This second question has nothing to do with issues of faith and morals and is way outside the scope of our mission. We are not priests, nor doctors, and don't have any competency in this area.

That said:

  • Why would prayer and fasting be a proscription for any illness?

It shouldn't! We should:

  • fast and pray
  • go through the normal means to have any medical condition appropriately taken care of, and
  • accept God's will, whatever the outcome.

I hope this helps,


Anonymous replied:

Thanks Mike,

Putting it in context makes it clearer to me.


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.